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David and Lisa


lanceroten
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I DVR'ed this little gem the other night, and watched it late last night/early this morning. I liked Keir Dullea's work in Black Christmas, 2001 and Bunny Lake is Missing. While not the typical movie I usually make a point to watch, David and Lisa was really pretty good. The talking in rhymes was certainly diff and took some getting used to, but it added to the mystique of the film a bit. And I thought the David role was well acted by Dullea. Especially the scenes with the head man of the instutute. :)

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Yes! I agree!

 

 

I had actually set the VCR for this one, since after back-to-back helpings of "Happy New Year," "Some Like it Hot," "Rocky" and "The Philadelphia Story" I was starting to feel like I'd cast myself in the leading role of a Best Picture nominee from 1971.

 

 

I did, however, want to hear Robert Osborne's intro to "David and Lisa" and having done so, and having watched the first three minutes or so, I found that I simply couldn't look away from the screen. I thought the film extraordinary and compelling, boasting superb direction from Frank Perry which certainly merited his Best Director nomination. Perry's use of screen space to suggest psychic estrangement was, I thought, bang on the money, and could not have been any better done.

 

 

Then there was Keir Dullea! Have to admit, I was not convinced, based upon the man's other screen credits, that Dullea was an especially good actor. I now know better. He's absolutely mesmerizing here, and his playing of the final moments with Janet Margolin are absolutely breathtaking. That's Howard Da Silva, by the way, as the lead psychiatrist. Somehow I never recognize him on screen until he begins to speak; the voice is simply inimitable. Da Silva also plays Ray Milland's favorite bartender and deux de machina in "The Lost Weekend" and makes a perky Benjamin Franklin in the otherwise hideous 1776.

 

 

I admit I was not expecting that much going into "David and Lisa," and holy bobcats! Less than 24 hours in, and I may already have my candidate for great underappreciated gem of the 31 Days of Oscar festival. Thanks for bringing this one to us, TCM!

 

 

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This is an unusual and very interesting film. I first saw it in an "art theater" in a big city in 1963. An art theater in those days showed top foreign films, a few old American classics, and artistic films like this one from a first-time director. I thought it was pretty good and it covered some new ground that Hollywood didn't usually cover.

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Hi, Fred:

 

I was under the impression that "David an Lisa" was a pretty commercially successful film in 1962 -- going on to be more than a modest little arthouse flick. Not being born until '66, however, I have no direct knowledge, obviously. Could you comment a bit more about the film, i.e: Did it build word of mouth from those initial showings into a more substantial commerical success? Was it appreciated as being especially innovative from a directoral standpoint right off the bat?

I'd appreciate what you can share. You have such wonderful insights to share about so many of these films, having direct memories of the release of so many titles. That's a diplomatic way of saying, by the way, that you're just so darned old, but wary of your salty tongue, I'd never dare to post such a sentiment on these boards!

Thanks -- am looking forward to your response.

Have a good weekend,

Dan.

 

Edited by: DuryeaForHollywood on Feb 4, 2012 1:53 AM

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I suppose I cannot make a fair assessment of *David and Lisa*, since I was called away (family emergency) about an hour into it, and never saw the second half.

Still, based on what I did see, I must admit I didn't like it very much. It seemed very self-consciously stylized, I don't believe mentally ill adolescents act like that ( although I am no expert), and the speaking in rhymes irritated me. It's not that easy to continually come up with words that rhyme with each other in everyday speech ! This felt fake to me, something the writer/director thought would add to Lisa/Muriel's fascination.

 

Also - I absolutely could not stand Keir Dullea's character ! Yes, I know he was "disturbed" ( I'd say autistic, but maybe they didn't know as much about that condition back then). He was unhappy, messed-up, very smart, and insufferable. I do agree, though, his acting was very good.

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As I recall, it was a strictly independent theater and art house movie when I saw it in '63. But maybe it played some larger theaters after it received two Oscar nominations (best director, best writing).

 

It was distributed by Continental Distributing, the same company that distributed Lord of the Flies and A Taste of Honey to art houses.

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